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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Psychological & Brain Sciences

Guide to best UMass Library resources for research in psychology

Psychological & Brain Sciences Research Guide

This guide is intended to organize and highlight the resources available to the UMass Amherst community conducting research in the psychological and brain sciences.  Many resources and services described here are only available to UMass Amherst community members with a NetID account.  I do also include relevant resources available through the local, national, and international professional psychological organizations or that are available open access. 

The University Libraries provide databases and collections in the various psychological disciplines that cover everything from peer-reviewed journals, Ph.D. dissertations, conference proceedings, psychology e-books, counseling and therapy sessions in video, famous experiments in psychology - documents and streaming examples, data visualization tools and more.  This guide is not an exhaustive list of every resource that might contain psych information but instead a shortlist to get you started with the most relevant and widely-used resources in the field.

If you are looking for the list of databases that was previously the homepage of this guide, please click here.

Database Best Bets

When you need research articles, or more information on experimental design, or to consult the authoritative reference literature, these are the top places to start.  Read the descriptions to pick the resource that best suits your need.  Explore the Find Articles tab for more resources.

Books on the Shelves

The Libraries' catalog, Discovery Search, provides a call number and location for each physical item. The call number consists of an alphanumeric string based on the Library of Congress classification system. View an example of how to read a call number.

Materials on psychology reside primarily in the BF call number range. 

BF 1-990 Psychology (i.e.)

BF173-175.5 Psychoanalysis

BF309-499 Consciousness. Cognition

BF608-635 Will. Volition. Choice. Control

BF697-697.5 Differential psychology. Individuality. Self

BF also includes areas that would have been lumped in with psychology in the 1800s when the Library of Congress classification system was invented (i.e.).

BF839.8-885 Physiognomy. Phrenology

Neuroscience can be found primarily in the RC range, as class R is medicine.

RC321-571 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry

Background Info

Background information on your topic can help you build better searches for finding sources.  Find your topic in a dictionary or encyclopedia - or in the DSM - to discover more keywords and concepts to shape your approach to searching for sources.


This guide took inspiration from the ACRL Psychology Information Literacy Standards guide, approved at ALA Annual Conference, June 2010, and the APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major 3.0, approved by the APA Council of Representatives, August 2023.